FG to Commence Free Train Ride on Lagos-Ibadan in November

Soccour will soon come to commuters n the South West region as the Federal government is poised to begin free train ride on the Lagos-Ibadan railway by ending of November this year.

The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who made this known during the monthly inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan railway modernization project on Monday, November28, 2019, said ” if the coaches we are expecting from China have not arrived, we will use the two coaches here. We will start trial runs because we made promises to Nigerians and we must fulfil that promise, so the test running must start from Ebute Metta to Ibadan.”

The Minister who was obviously not pleased with the pace of work, gave the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) till November 25th to complete the construction of rail tracks from Iju to Ebute Metta, that is from kilometre 20 to kilometre 4 as well as to complete the construction of the 7 minor stations on the Lagos-Ibadan rail route.

“They said before the dissolution of the cabinet that, they were going to complete the stations in three months, May, June and July but we are here today in October and the stations are not completed.”

He, therefore, charged the contractor to deploy more personnel and equipment to ensure timely completion of the stations and the project in general, chiding them that it should, however not be the reason to perfom shody job as that would be unacceptable.“ I know that I am putting pressure on you but you must ensure that you do quality and standard job while trying to meet your deadline,” he stated.

On the issue of local content, the Minister said: “The reason we gave you the contract was for you to grow our local economy, but now you bring doors from China, you bring widows from China, you bring roofing sheets from China and if we are not careful, you will bring sand from China.”

Responding, an Engineer with CCECC Xia Liju said the company only imported from China what they could not source locally, adding that the heavy rains was largely responsible for the slow pace in laying the tracks from Iju to Ebuta Metta.
In an interview with Journalists, the Chairman of Board, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Alhaji Ibrahim Alhassan, also noted that CCECC’s performance was below expectation but gave the assurance that they will partner with the company to ensure speedy completion of the project.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, noted that since “all the materials needed are on ground, we will put pressure on CCECC to ensure they complete the project within the given time line.”
It may be recalled that the 36 months Lagos-Ibadan rail project is expected to terminate in February, 2019.

Eric Ojiekwe
Head, Press & PR
November 28, 2019

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